But don’t ask how it’s been received at Turner so far: The version at the event was a prototype that had to be sent back. Health and physical education teacher Jeremy Keys is eagerly awaiting the real deal, which he thinks will be a hit with students, particularly because they’ll all be able to play together. His hope? “It’ll create some buzz in terms of being healthy and be a launch pad for families working out together.”
Whatever results Keys collects are going to be closely monitored by Heather Holaday, the health and physical education program manager for DCPS. Although DDR hasn’t had much of a presence in the city’s schools, she’s interested in how exergaming can add to students’ activity levels.
Every middle and high school in the city has the HOPSports Training System, which projects a huge variety of fitness videos on a screen set up in the gymnasium, often during P.E. warm-ups. Because it’s skill-based — providing instruction on martial arts, yoga, golf and more — it can offer broader expertise than any single teacher would be able to. And it frees up that teacher to give one-on-one help to students who need it.
Also, as with exergames, “everyone’s eyes are straight ahead, so kids don’t need to worry about how they’re looking,” Holaday says.
Because DDR isn’t really a lesson in the same way, she’s not sure where it fits into P.E., but she still thinks there’s room for it. Physical education is just one class on a schedule, but activity is something kids need all the time, so there could be big benefits in having the game as an option before or after school.
Especially for kids who live in neighborhoods where playing outside can be dangerous, an exergame could help hook them on other ways to stay active, she adds.
So maybe it’s more of an evolution than a revolution. But at least it’s a start.
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Hallett edits the Fit section of Express.
Read past columns by Hallett and Lenny Bernstein at
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